If you are a regular reader you will already be aware that my love for Tilly and The Buttons patterns runs strong and deep. She produces brilliantly designed, easy to wear, day to day clothes patterns and is easily my favourite indie designer. I try to make as many of her patterns as I physically can. Those of you with particularly excellent memories may recall the time I was very grown up and traced some patterns one winter eve. One of those patterns was from ‘Love Sewing’ magazine but was in fact an early version of the Mathilde blouse from TATB. This one did not include tucks down the front, but I figured that would make things easier as I’ve never sewn tucks.
I’d bought some gorgeous floral cotton at the sewing show last year and was saving it for a summer top. It seemed like a match made in heaven. The fabric wasn’t quite wide enough to do the full sleeve, but I was planning on changing the sleeve to a shorter floatier one anyway. I had some little wooden buttons to go down the back and decided to forgo the suggested piping at the yolk and replace it with a line of burgundy velvet ribbon which I got for Christmas from Imogen. Adapted Mathilde was a go, so I cut her out and got to work.
All was going swimmingly. The front pieces and back went together like a dream, however I noticed that the front neckline sat very high on me. So I removed the facing chopped it down and faced it with cream bias binding; much better.
My issues really began with the sleeves. I’m going to come right out and say it : I hate set in sleeves. We do not get on at all. Give me a raglan or flat sewn sleeve any day. But I was determined to make these sleeves work. I own too many tops without sleeves and wanted something that covered my shoulders so I could wear it for work, as many places are particular about shoulders on display. So I persevered and persevered, and even enlisted an expert. my attempts to insert them yielded a poor fit across the front. The darts were now in completely the wrong place. It had to be something I was doing wrong. So I asked the wife of my mum’s cousin (tenuous links I know) who is a seamstress to help. She tried re-setting them. Still no dice. I was forced to conclude that the sleeves just do not fit well. I removed them completely and faced the armholes with cream binding as I had the neckline.
My next issue came from the button holes. As those of you who know me will be aware, I hate maths and the free magazine pattern had not come with a piece indicating the placement of buttonholes. Rats! This meant working out the size and distance between the button holes myself. Drat, darn and dagnabbit! This took me literal days. Longer than the sleeve conundrum and neckline issues put together. I believe my head just wasn’t in the right place to work that out by that point. But I eventually managed it with the help of my mum and my patient other half, and the buttons fit nicely.
Then there was the matter of the sleeves (or rather, the lack thereof). I still wanted my shoulder covered so I bought some gorgeous lace from Abakhan’s thinking of pretty pleats to form gentle Victoriana -style caps. I pinned it on and something wasn’t right. She sat on Rosalind for nearly a week before a solution presented itself. It was in fact my friend Leila who helped with this one while she was staying over on a crafting bender (about which more soon). “It’s a bit twee” she pointed out, quite rightly. It was. It was twee, and cutesy and belonged in the wardrobe of a five year old. She made the brilliant suggestion of a small bow of the burgundy ribbon on the left hand side to keep it simple. I threw the lace to my sewing box and hand-stitched the ribbon on.
Here she is. She is chic, pretty, summery and I’m never making her again. She was more trouble than she was worth. I’m sorry Tilly, maybe its just me. I just hope the Fifi Pjs work out better for me.
(apologies for the trainer. one day I’ll be able to take decent photos. but it is not this day)